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dinner for picky & adventurous eaters alike?

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I'll be visiting New York from Boston in a few weeks, and am meeting a few friends for dinner on a Saturday night. There will be 4 of us - 1 is an extremely picky eater, the rest of us are fairly adventurous. The picky eater will do American, Italian, or Mexican, and I could maybe convince her to go for not-too-exotic Asian or other Latin American fare.

I'm looking for something basically between Houston and 30th streets; either side of town is fine. Our friends live in Gramercy, and we'll be going to a bar in the West Village later that evening.

Any ideas? Something affordable-ish would be great - I guess entrees in the $20s or so.

As someone who hasn't lived in New York in years, the options are pretty overwhelming. Thanks for any guidance!

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  1. Cacio e Vino (2nd Ave, btw 4th/5th St) fits all your criteria...reasonably priced Sicilian...some Sicilian specialties w/ fennel and fruit and nuts and seafood for the more Chowish eaters; plenty of simple pastas for the less adventurous...it's also a cute place -- woodsy, small, nice staff...

    1. If you can score a rez at Babbo, it's very solid for the adventurous/not-so-much combination. Those of you game for it can get head cheese, tripe, lamb tongues, octopus, brains, etc. Those not-so-adventurous... lots of pasta and traditional entree items. Apps are in the teens, pastas tend to be in the mid-20s, entrees are mostly around $29 with a few higher or lower. And it's in the Village, so right where you want to be.

      Also in that area is Empellon Taqueria - creative Mexican, great cocktails. Their East Village location (Empellon Cocina) has a more interesting menu, though.

      Chinese would be another good option. Most of the better Cantonese restaurants serve dishes family-style, but at a place like Fuleen you could get a bunch of straightforward (but very good) dishes, and perhaps add something more esoteric for the rest of you - they're famous for their geoduck, though that particular dish is a bit of a splurge. But there are also dishes, with, say, "1,000 year" eggs and the like that might appeal.

      Jehangir Mehta's two places - Graffiti and Mehtaphor - have very creative food, and nothing's over $20 at either of them. I prefer the former over the latter, but they're both good.

      Wylie Dufresne's new place Alder could be fun - it's adventurous in presentation but working with familiar flavors (i.e. a pastrami sandwich reimagined as rye pasta with pastrami crumbs, clam chowder with "oyster crackers" made from actual oysters, stuff like that...) - prices are reasonable but they're kind of in the "small plates" style so they can add up. But it's a fun place to graze the menu and try a lot of different things. Same can be said for Pearl & Ash, young talented chef (who used to work for Dufresne, IIRC) doing fun small plates.

      Speaking of small plates, I'd say another good option might be Toro - but, y'know, if you're coming from Boston, no point in that...

      1. Lots of good suggestions here. I'll add another.

        Trestle on Tenth. The chef/owner is Swiss and that's reflected in a lot of the dishes. That said, there's plenty of things on the menu for a picky eater.

        NY Mag blurb -
        http://nymag.com/listings/restaurant/...

        Menu -
        http://www.trestleontenth.com/menus-a...

        1. The Dutch
          Blue Ribbon Bakery and/or Brasserie
          Scarpetta

          2 Replies
          1. re: thegforceny

            Blue Ribbon is a good call (if not terribly adventurous, although I suppose the bone marrow counts as such to some)

            Scarpetta - love 'em, but they're definitely not "affordable-ish" with "entrees in the $20s or so" - unless everybody orders the chicken.

            1. re: sgordon

              Actually, that chicken is ain't bad. Better than all the rest of the secondis we had in Scarpetta. I would consider splitting or skipping a main here anyway after the bread basket, apps, pasta fest.
              Same idea for Maialino

          2. Rockmeisha would work- japanese izakaya with fried chicken and chicken teriyaki for your friend and more adventurous items- like pig's toe (?!)
            http://www.menupages.com/restaurants/...
            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/966869